Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 12 : Spring 2012 - Page 68

Nicole Farley Choosing between Food, Fuel and Medications by Dottie Hutchins 68 SPRING 2012 Today, many senior citizens and others worry about their ability to pay for prescription medications. We often hear heart-wrenching stories about people having to choose between buying food, heating their homes, or filling their prescriptions. Making these difficult choices is stressful and lifethreatening for those who may already be challenged by their golden years, or learning to live with a Mary Gallant disability. For younger generations, these same difficult choices may result from recently losing a job, a catastrophic illness, or other family emergencies. The economic challenges of our time know no age boundaries. These challenges are a reality for many, but there is hope and help is available. Pines Health Services offers many options for patients to receive free or low-cost prescription medications. These options include brand name and generic Prescription Assistance Programs (PAPs); co-pay foundations; pharmacy discounts; as well as state and federal programs. Programs vary with the needs of each patient. Some programs are available to patients with Medicare, while others assist patients who have private insurance, no drug coverage insurance, or have larger incomes coupled with high medical expenses. Many of the prescription medications are provided at no cost or at discounted prices to the patient. “We assist patients of all ages who lack prescription coverage based on income,” said Nicole Farley, one of Pines Prescription Assistance Coordinators. Pines Prescription Assistance Program Coordinators help each qualifying patient get the medicines they need through the program that is right for them. This service is free of charge not only for Pines patients, but also nonPines patients who are referred by other physician practices and organizations. “In the fourth quarter of 2011, we helped more than 200 patients receive prescription assistance totaling over $205,000,” added Farley. “For many of our patients, chronic health issues such as diabetes and heart disease are